How to Survive Prison Life

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Landed in the big house? Survive prison life by following these do's and don'ts.

Step 1: Don't be a snitch
Don't rat anyone out. Ever. If you want to survive prison life, this is the number one rule.

Step 2: Don't be a badass
Forget what you've seen on TV about swaggering into prison like a tough guy so you won't get picked on. Acting like a badass is actually more likely to get you beaten up because the established thugs will feel obligated to reassert their dominance.

Tip
If you do get targeted for a smackdown, fight back to the best of your ability and try not to show fear.

Step 3: Resist favors
If an inmate offers to give you something or do you a favor, politely decline. This is a common trick inmates use on newbies to get them into their debt so they can extort a huge payback.

Step 4: Wait to be asked
Don't join anything — a conversation, a mess hall table, a game of hoops — unless you're invited. Refrain from asking personal questions unless the other person has broached the subject first.

Tip
Never ask an inmate what they're "in for"; ask what they've been "accused of."

Step 5: Brace yourself
Expect bad treatment from the guards if you're in for financial misdeeds — especially if you could once afford $6,000 shower curtains. These inmates tend to be assigned the most degrading jobs.

Step 6: Make peace with your crime
Assuming you're guilty, make peace with doing the time. Acceptance of your circumstances will help you survive prison life and plan for the future.

Did You Know?
If an inmate tries to sneak in contraband via his rectum, it's known as "keistering."

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